Institute of Historical Studies
Institute of Historical Studies

Scholars bring expertise from a range of geographic and thematic fields to “Collectives and Commons” theme in 2019-20

Wed, May 22, 2019
Scholars bring expertise from a range of geographic and thematic fields to “Collectives and Commons” theme in 2019-20
Image credit below.

Story by Kazushi Minami Ph.D Candidate, History, UT Austin

The Institute is pleased to announce its research fellows in 2019-2020! In addition to five internal faculty fellows and two internal postdoctoral fellows from the History Department, we will be joined by visiting scholars Dr. José Carlos de la Puente and Dr. Leone Musgrave, all of whom will make key contributions to the Institute's annual theme “Collectives and Commons: Global Histories, Emerging Futures.”

José Carlos de la Puente is Associate Professor of History at Texas State University. His research centers on native accounting technologies, the colonial Inka nobility, indigenous chroniclers and litigants, and indigenous legal culture, land tenure systems, and territorial representation. His first book, Los curacas hechiceros de Jauja. Batallas mágicas y legales en el Perú colonial (2017), examines the politics of witchcraft accusations among native elite families in the central highlands of seventeenth-century Peru. His second book, Andean Cosmopolitans: Seeking Justice and Reward at the Spanish Royal Court (University of Texas Press, 2018), an in-depth study of the transatlantic journeys of native Andeans to the Habsburg royal court, received the Flora Tristán Book Award of the Latin American Historical Association in 2019.

As an IHS fellow, de la Puente will work on a project titled “Sapçi: A History of Colonial Andean Commons.” This study focuses on Andean commons (re)making as a dynamic historical process, uncovering the shared and evolving strands of communal imagination (sapci) that gave life to, and allowed for the preservation and remaking of, communal resources during the colonial period. In line with emerging theorizations, de la Puente seeks to extend his efforts to go beyond seeing colonial sapçi regimes as outcome (the shared domain per se and its infrastructure), and to capture their history as process (the constant entangling and disentangling of a commons). While the whole history of indigenous peoples under Spanish rule was once told as the ripping apart or uncommoning of Andean collectives due to colonial dispossession, encroachment, and privatization, “Sapci” begins with an inquiry into the concrete forms by which indigenous subjects reappropriated, reintegrated, and mobilized resources, spaces, political rituals, normative orders, and even ideas and identities back into, or on behalf of, the commons.

Leone Musgrave (Ph.D., Indiana University, 2017) is an American Councils for International Education academic research fellow at Southern Federal University in Rostov-on-Don in Russia in 2018-2019. Her project, titled “Social Democracies, Mountain Republics, and Shifting Jamāʿāt: New Caucasus Solidarities and the Age of Eurasian Revolution,” examines several local, Caucasian visions of collectivity and commons as they arose in the broad early-twentieth-century context of Greater War and age of Eurasian revolution. Her research will ask: In the early-twentieth-century atmosphere of political upheavals in the Russian, Persian, and Ottoman realms, what did “revolution” mean for residents of the Caucasus mountain region? How did Caucasia’s borderland status and Caucasians’ devotion to Islam figure in their ideals for enviroeconomic lifeways and social arrangements?

During her fellowship, Musgrave's writing will focus on Caucasus “mountaineers’” changing disposal of property and service obligations held in common by villages or village confederations, on the relationship between official socialism and mobile pastoralism, and on nature-based political identities. She will also be considering how those visions impinge on transnational communities and affairs in an early-twenty-first century context of Caucasian, Russian, and Islamist politics globalized. Her work will describe how Caucasians’ earlier understandings of social and ecological unity are reflected and reflected on in the region following the collapse of the Soviet state and new drives for political consolidation, as well as what actors in a new era of political and ecological crisis can learn from their earlier struggles to secure environmental and social justice.

The "Commons and Collectives" theme draws inspiration from recent insurgent social-activist movements that have sought to redefine commons, collectives, and cooperative existence in the human and non-human world. Professors Tracie Matysik and Joan Neuberger, the IHS Thematic Coordinators in 2019-2020, will organize the annual conference in April 2020, exploring various approaches to historicize and conceptualize new ideas about “collectives and commons.”

Internal faculty fellows will research their projects:

  • Jorge Canizares-Esguerra: "The Radical Spanish Empire: Petitions and the Creation of the New World"
  • Indrani Chatterjee: "Unbecoming Governors: Households in the reconstitution of caste, community and gender in colonial South Asia"
  • Lina del Castillo: "Colombia’s Paper Empire: Cosmopolitanism, Print Culture, and Geopolitics in the Age of Revolutions"
  • Martha G. Newman: "Gender, Narrative, and the Construction of Self in Medieval Monastic Communities c. 1200"
  • Cynthia Talbot: "Martial Sentiments: Writing Warrior Histories in Mughal India, 1590-1680"

Internal postdoctoral fellows include Christopher S. Rose and Eyal Weinberg, whose projects "Disease, Depravity, and Revolution: The Breakdown of Public Health in Egypt 1914-1919" and "Tending to the Body Politic: Doctors, Military Repression, and Transitional Justice in Brazil (1961-1988)," respectively, are described in detail here.

In addition to the above Fellows, IHS will host several Visiting Research Affiliates next year. Learn more about these these visiting scholars in the coming months on our People page.

Image Credit: Left - “Twentieth-century wool comb and spindle, displayed at the National Museum of the Republic of Adygeia.” Photo courtesy of Leone Musgrave. Right - “Natural features as boundary markers of the community of Cocha Laraos, in Yauyos. Unknown artist, 1595? Photograph courtesy of the Archivo Nacional del Perú.” Image courtesy of José Carlos de la Puente.

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